Having chickens means you will get fresh eggs. Sometimes those eggs will be dirty and you will have to spend time washing chicken eggs.
Since chickens are not the cleanest animals on the planet, you will get dirty eggs. Needless to say, you will need to know how to wash fresh eggs.
But, what is the best method for washing chicken eggs? How do you safely clean them? Does it really matter?
Let’s start by thinking about the freshly laid eggs. When the chicken lays the egg, it is laid with a protective layer over the shell called the “bloom”.
This bloom protects the developing chick from outside bacteria entering in and destroying it. This is nature’s way of keeping the egg fresh. Washing chicken eggs will remove this protective bloom.
The best way to help keep the egg fresh is to make sure the nesting boxes are kept as clean as possible. That may mean adding fresh bedding and removing soiled materials from nesting boxes weekly, or even daily.
Our chickens used to try and roost in the nesting boxes. The would drop manure in them all night long.
When the chickens would roost for the night, we would cover the nesting boxes. This kept them from trying to roost and poop where they laid their eggs. Setting up a specific chicken dust bath area will also keep them clean.
Fresh Eggs Shelf Life
How long fresh eggs keep will depend on whether or not it’s protected by its bloom. When the bloom remains intact, fresh eggs shelf life is longer.
When the bloom is washed away, fresh eggs shelf life is shorter. Washing chicken eggs can make them go bad within days on the counter. Storing it in the fridge will help it to last up to 2 months.
Gathering eggs at least daily will help your fresh eggs stay fresh as well. They won’t have to be sitting out in the coop in extreme temperatures. Fresh eggs can freeze in winter, and the summer heat can cause them to age faster.
If you have a soiled egg that you want to use right away, you can run it under cool water to remove any manure. The easiest way is to gently run the egg under the water, smooth the towel over the dirt, and gently wipe away.
How to Store Chicken Eggs
If you want to store your farm fresh eggs for awhile, and they are not that dirty, it is best to leave them be until you are ready to use them. This is especially true if you store them on the counter.
The bloom will remain intact, protecting the egg. If you wash the eggs off with water, you will want to put them in the fridge to store them. This is because washing chicken eggs will remove the bloom, leaving the porous shell open to bacteria entering. It’s best to use this method to wash eggs before cooking.
Related Article: Reuse Your Eggshells Instead Of Just Composting
Washing chicken eggs with the dry method
Another way of washing chicken eggs is by using the “dry” method. This is often done by using a fine grit sandpaper that has been gently used to remove dirt and manure from the egg.
You want to use the finest grit you can find. Too rough and it can open the shell and allow bacteria in. Gently rub back and forth until the dirt is gone.
You can also use egg cleaning cloths. They are useful for smaller flocks that may have trouble keeping nesting boxes clean.
Messy nesting boxes were more of a problem when we had smaller tractors for our coop, versus the larger barn type of coop.
Some other things to keep in mind when washing chicken eggs:
- If the shell is cracked in any way, it is best to not use the egg. Compost completely.
- If the shell remains greatly discolored after washing, it may be best to feed the egg (cooked) to your dog or cat.
- If you wonder if you have fresh eggs, do the float test. Place it in a tall bowl of cool water. If it sinks to the bottom laying flat, it is fresh. If it “tilts” on its side, but remains on the bottom, it is safe to use only if cooked thoroughly first. If it “bobs” on the surface of the water, compost the egg. Do NOT feed it to your animals, as it may not be safe.
Did you know how to wash farm fresh eggs? What method do you prefer to use for washing chicken eggs? Be sure to pin this for later!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.